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When the cloud falls

At the recent Dell EMC Africa Partner Summit, partners from all over Africa gathered in one place to share information, and many of those discussions focused on cloud. BRAD PULFORD,  GM for Channel & Distribution at Dell EMC South Africa, offers insight into why many customers fail with cloud.

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Becoming a cloud-first business is fantastic – and that’s putting it mildly. Companies that adopted a cloud-first business model recover 96 times faster from a disaster, spend less than half the time on security than their peers and are more than twice as effective at retaining talent than competitors. Embracing the cloud makes a lot of business sense.

This message is not lost on companies, but unfortunately wanting something and executing it successfully are two very different things. As cloud adoption accelerates, it is becoming clear that many organisations, big and small, are struggling to make the change and see real value. Why is this happening?

“Cloud is a very fluid word right now,” said Pulford. “Consumers all have different consumption needs. But because they treat cloud as a destination and not a shift in their business model, they often end up with what doesn’t work for their needs.”

What is cloud?

So companies aren’t seeing the value, because they still don’t grasp what cloud is and how to align it with their world. Let’s take the conversation back to its basics: what is cloud? According to the US-based National Institute of Standards and Technology, cloud has five essential characteristics:

  • on-demand self-service
  • broad network access
  • resource pooling
  • rapid elasticity or expansion, and
  • measured service

These can be found in three service models – software, platform and infrastructure – and four deployment models, namely private, community, public and hybrid.

This is already a mouthful, so no wonder companies are not up for the due diligence required. The IT industry isn’t helping: vendors and service providers are too likely to try and shoehorn a customer into one of their services, ignoring the nuanced needs of the business.

Forget the jargon

But fortunately, you don’t have to become a cloud fundie to make sense of this. There is a much simpler and more practical way forward, Pulford explained:

“Cloud impacts your company’s workloads, meaning the data and tasks that your business systems are running. That is where your perspective lives. The nature of a workload says a lot of the kind of cloud it is looking for. You should start by profiling the applications in your organisation.”

A common mistake companies make is they get stuck on Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) as a viable cloud model. This is cloud’s most visible wave of change and involves letting go of underlying infrastructure, paying purely for the service. For example, using Office365 to manage email, calendar and Office functions such as spreadsheets.

But what about a SAP ERP? Such a system often involves many customisations that are unique to the business. Replicating those tweaks requires a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) or even Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) approach, if the business wants more control over the nuts and bolts behind the applications. Some business applications may need to be virtualised through a hypervisor such as VMWare. Others might be better when separated into several services.

Certain workloads may work best if temporarily shifted to a hyperscale cloud environment – essentially a supercomputer on steroids – where they can be concluded faster or take advantage or special services there, like AI for business analytics. A payroll workload can go from days to minutes if the right cloud model is applied. All this can even happen inside a company on its own private cloud and hand-picked infrastructure. Something such as a flash-storage array can quadruple a system’s performance several times over.

“What are the applications at the core of your business?” Pulford asked. “Can they be modernised with cloud-native versions? Should they be virtualised? What is the best cloud can offer for those particular workloads? And what are the business benefits that you will see from the different cloud options? That is the way to approach cloud – not cloud for cloud’s sake, but cloud for the sake of your applications.”

Most cloud implementations fail because they are not considered from the business and business application perspectives. Instead, customers are dazzled with cost and performance metrics. Those are very achievable, but only if the migration is from a business-first perspective.

What does your business need? The answers lie with your applications, so start there…

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Naspers feeds into Latin America’s tech funding

Movile will get $400m funding from the SA-based technology investment giant for iFood expansion.

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Movile is to receive US$500-million in funding for iFood in the largest tech funding in Latin America to date. Naspers and Innova Capital have committed to invest $400m of new capital into Movile to use for further investment in iFood, the leading online food delivery platform in Latin America, of which Movile is a majority shareholder.  

Movile and Just Eat have already invested $100m in iFood during 2018. iFood’s extraordinary growth and the vast market opportunity in Brazil and more broadly in Latin America has driven the increased investment commitment. 

iFood’s monthly orders in Brazil have fed more than 9 million customers in the past twelve months, 16 times the nearest online competitor, in terms of daily active users. This means its partner restaurants are serving the biggest population of consumers ordering food in Latin America. iFood has 50 000 restaurant partners and uses 120 000 couriers. 

The increased investment commitment from Naspers, Innova and Movile is expected to accelerate growth, speed up product development and innovation, and fuel geographical expansion for iFood across the region. The company’s vision is to gain deeper knowledge of consumers through artificial intelligence technology, to personalise the food delivery experience – and at a reduced price, because of improved logistics. 

“Movile is very fortunate to have long-term investors who have supported us for the past decade to help achieve our goal of transforming the lives of more than one billion people and thus we are able to continually back iFood to ensure it remains the market leader,” said Fabricio Bloisi, Movile CEO. 

“Our entire ecosystem of companies is focused on allocating resources and energy towards our one billion people goal. iFood is leading the way, fueling unprecedented growth through its innovative technology platform, providing consumers, couriers and restaurants with the best experience in food ordering and delivery.”  

Larry Illg, CEO of Naspers Ventures, said: “iFood has established itself as a technology leader in Latin America and its success stacks up with some of the most innovative food companies that are leading regions in North America, Europe and Asia.  We have been impressed by their execution in Brazil and remain committed to backing the company on its path to transform the entire food chain to better serve consumers.” 

Online food delivery is experiencing massive expansion globally. According to latest reported results, Grubhub grew daily average orders 39% year-on-year, reaching over 416 000 orders per day. In Latin America, iFood has reached 390 000 orders per day just in Brazil in the last week of October, compared with 183 000 in October 2017, representing 109% growth.

iFood CEO Carlos Moyses said: “We want our consumers to have an amazing delivery experience from the moment they order their food to the moment it arrives. Our partners – the restaurants and delivery fleet – make that happen by living our purpose of improving people’s lives using our services.

“iFood exists for our customers and, with an increased investment commitment of this size, we will be able to build out our state of the art technology platform, and increase our courier and restaurant partners to even better serve our current and future customers in Latin America.”

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Hide your sheep, Spyro is reigniting

Spyro, the iconic purple dragon that entertained living rooms worldwide in the late ‘90s, is making a return with the release of Spyro Reignited Trilogy.

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Spyro Reignited Trilogy introduces players to a fully remastered game collection with a re-imagined cast of characters, animations, environments, new lighting and recreated cinematics—all inHD.  Now fans can explore more than 100 lush environments filled with new detail, that brings the Dragon Realms and Avalar to life . The trilogy is available for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 4 Pro and the family of Xbox One devices from Microsoft, including the Xbox One X.

South African distributors Megarom provided the followjng information:

In Spyro Reignited Trilogy, lead developer Toys For Bob is giving fans an all scaled-up version of the original three Spyro games that started it all, Spyro the Dragon, Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage! and Spyro: Year of the Dragon, but with a modern-day feel that makes it fresh and fun for today’s player. Adding to the fun, voice actor Tom Kenny is returning to the franchise as the voice of Spyro in all three remastered games. Longtime fans will be treated to Toys For Bob’s reimagined version of the classic soundtracks, in addition to an all-new title-screen theme from original soundtrack composer Stewart Copeland.

Additionally, the new game brings an in-game audio feature that allows players to switch between the original and the newly remastered soundtracks, for those who want a more classic gameplay experience. Players can simply fly in to the “options menu” at any time during gameplay, unleash their preferred nostalgic or scaled-up groove, and glide right back into the Spyro action without losing saved data.

“It’s been a real pleasure to bring back one of most iconic video game characters of all time through the Spyro Reignited Trilogy,” said Paul Yan, Co-Studio Head at Toys For Bob. “We’ve poured everything we’ve got into making sure every detail was done right to deliver a great Spyro experience for fans. We hope players will have as much fun revisiting the Spyro world and characters as we did remastering them.”

In the road up to the official release of Spyro Reignited Trilogy, Activision Publishing, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, created a first-of-its-kind, life-sized, fire-breathing and talking Spyro Dragon drone. The drone took off from “Stone Hill” castle near New York City, spreading his wings across the U.S. to explore the cities and iconic landscapes that resemble levels and themes from the original Spyro games. As part of the tour, the Spyro drone chased sheep, fired up some BBQ and delivered an early copy of Spyro Reignited Trilogy to fellow O.G. and entertainment icon, Snoop Dogg. Highlights from the Spyro drone’s delivery to Snoop Dogg can be found here.

“Fans have been asking Activision to bring Spyro back for some time now. The response to Spyro Reignited Trilogy has been great thus far, and we’re absolutely thrilled that we’re able to continue to reimagine and reinvigorate some of the most iconic videogames and characters of all time with our remastered experiences,” said Steve Young, Chief Revenue Officer at Activision. “With this year being the 20th anniversary of Spyro, there’s no better time to pay homage to everyone’s favorite purple dragon.”

The Spyro community is invited to geek out and elevate their fandom even further through the elite global partnerships from the Activision Blizzard Consumer Products Group (ABCPG). Collaborations with Funko, Traly Pins, Exquisite Gaming, KidRobot, USAopoly, Trends International, Rubber Road, and Changes have created new avenues for fans to share their love for the return of Spyro, the original roast master. Spyro consumer products across apparel, collectibles, figurines and more are now available at retailers worldwide. Fans can also take advantage of the GameStop exclusive Spyro TOTAKU Collection.

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